Thursday, July 14, 2011
Random Act of Kindness
My Co-Writer is my muse and most of the time he comes through for me but early this morning when I was trying to think of something to write…Nada, nothing. So I said, "Hey you gotta help me out here cuz I got squat." It looked like it was going to be a quick "Hi, this is day 8, I'm not having any urges, I didn't do much yesterday but it was a good day. Gotta go. Bye." (You can tell who is the real writing talent in this team. I'm just the typist).
So…I went to mass, again. My new mass habit reminds me of stories of alcoholics that don't have a drink for years and then after one they can't get enough. I think the mass habit may be a little healthier for me. And I know I can stop whenever I want. The homily wasn't too inspiring and I was still wondering where my muse had gone when I noticed a man sitting at the end of the pew in front of me. He's been there every day that I have. He's very old and he has that tattered and hollow look that homeless people carry. On another morning I had noticed a wobbly old bicycle leaning against the side of the church. It had electrical tape around the handlebars for hand grips and also covering the entire seat. I wondered if it was his. This man looked far too frail to be riding a bike. He had a glove on one hand and his jacket was twisted around his back. I thought maybe he was trying to fashion some kind of sling out of it.
He left as soon as the priest started to make his way out of the sacristy. I wanted to follow him to see if the bike actually was his but as Father Preisner scolded me years ago when he caught me sneaking out of mass early, "Kary May, you never leave mass before the priest." As soon as the priest exited, I hurriedly genuflected, crossed myself and headed down the aisle. I was the first one out but there was no sign of the old man. I crossed to the side street where I had parked and there he was. He wasn't on a bike. He was stopped on the sidewalk and another one of the churchgoers was helping him put his jacket on correctly.
Tears came to my eyes.
Years before he died my dad broke his shoulder and it was essentially frozen after that and he couldn't move it. He learned to work around it and dress himself and even kept up his woodworking and lawn care. Then he had a stroke and, luckily, it affected that same side but he had to learn to do all those things over again. I can remember how he would have to thread his bad arm through the sleeve of his jacket and then sling it around his shoulders to his good side to put the good arm in. Sometimes it would take several tries to get it right. I hope that if it had been twisted like the old man's jacket was someone would have helped him like this kind fellowman did.
So today I'm out there doing my best to be ready should a chance to practice a random act of kindness happen by.